Saturday, January 6, 2018
KLM Route Network, 1982.
Zooming ahead several decades from yesterday's post, a circuit-board cartography shows the six-continent, circumnavigational system of KLM. Reminiscent of the powerful, dynamic abstractions of Lufthansa's famous spinnernetz Streckenatlas of the same era, the Royal Dutch route network is simplified into web of trunk routes, yielding only general information of the intercontinental connectivity performed by the carrier. Likewise, the continents are represented with mind-bending liberties; Alaska and South America in particular bearing only slight resemblance to their true shapes. The top portion of the literature shows four of KLM's ultramodern jetliners, especially the flagship B747-200Bs, DC-8s and DC-10s.
It is always remarkable to look back at the route maps of European flag carriers in this era, when more African capitals were served than American cities. Like many of those state airlines of the early jet age, KLM linked Europe to South America via the western edge of Africa, with Casablanca, Tangiers, and Freetown linked together in a right angle which continues on to Monrovia, Accra, Lomé and Lagos, making a northward left at Kano. A single line shoots off of Morocco for Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, ending at Santiago (nearly identical to Iberia's route shown in the previous post). Today, KLM still serves all of these Mercosur cities, except for Montevideo.
An eastern route crosses the Mediterranean to Cairo, onward to Khartoum, with an elbow passing through Nairobi—Kilimanjaro—Dar Es Salaam to end at Johannesburg. To this day KLM still flies to these three east African cities; indeed, KLM is the only European airline to fly to Kilimanjaro, but sadly and surprisingly, Cairo has been terminated, as was Khartoum.